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First, a note from Google:

Google Analytics has let us know that the feature called Multi-Channel Funnels discussed in this blog post is in limited pilot. That means that Google Analytics is testing the feature and its usefulness to a small group of trusted testers, and have not made any plans or a timeline for a full launch.

Google Analytics is adding an exciting new feature that will help you measure the true value of social media, online and offline campaigns and other outreach efforts.

It’s called multi-channel funnels, and Google has supplied us with a video to help explain…

Google Analytics used to be able to tell you only what the ‘last touch’ was that led to the conversion or sale. For example, if the visitor clicked on an AdWords ad before converting, then the Google/paid medium would be given credit for that conversion.

Now, Google Analytics can tell you what other sources contributed to the conversion before AdWords sealed the deal.

For those of us in Ontario, let me use a hockey metaphor: It’s like Google Analytics began tracking assists as well as goals. Now, we can see the value of someone who sets up other players for goals.

Of course, Google (as they usually do) take it one step further by showing all the sources that contributed to the conversion. That’s like having every player on the ice credited with an assist if they touched the puck at all on a play that led to a goal. Players are even credited twice if they touched the puck twice!

Multi-channel funnels will track any touch that led to a conversion for up to a month.

This could mean many new insights about your website. For instance, you may be doing social media outreach that leads to new visitors that don’t convert on their first visit to your website. You know that social media is great for raising awareness, but it doesn’t seem to convert.

Multi-Channel Funnels may reveal that these visitors that were recruited using social media visit again, later in the month, and convert or make a purchase. So you might find that some of your outreach activities are better at dishing out assists than they are at scoring goals.

(Like the Ottawa Senators’ Jason Spezza, or for the basketball fan, Utah Jazz great John Stockton.)

Google is currently rolling out this feature in limited pilot, so you may not get your hands on it for a few months. One day, however, this feature will be in your hands and it could very well change how you market your website and how credit for conversions is spread among your marketing tools.